Click HERE for ticket information
Game 21: No. 20 Arizona (14-6, 5-4) vs. No. 18 Washington State (17-4, 6-3)
Date: Thursday, Feb. 1, 2007
Time: 6:30 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: FSNAZ (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)
Game Data: No. 20 Arizona (14-6, 5-4 Pac-10) opens the second half of conference play Thursday by hosting No. 18 Washington State (17-4, 6-3 Pac-10) in McKale Center ... The Cats look to hold serve at home in the return to Pac-10 play ... The Wildcats were 4-1 in McKale Center in the first trip through the league ... Over the last four home games Arizona is averaging 73.8 points per game, 11.4 points per game lower than its season average at home ... After scoring 80 or more points in 10 of its first 13 games, Arizona has accomplished the feat just once in its last seven contests.
The Rankings: After splitting two games last week, Arizona slipped to No. 20 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll and to No. 22 the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. The Wildcats have been ranked in each poll to date this season.
Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . is in his 24th season at Arizona and his 34th overall as a college head coach with a career record of 775-275 (.738) and 583-183 (.761) at Arizona ... He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 27, 2002 ... Olson became the 16th coach in basketball history to tally 1,000 career victories (covering all levels) on Dec. 11, 2004 ... Olson recorded his 775th collegiate victory on Jan. 24, 2007, and became Arizona’s career victories leader (510) on Jan. 17, 2004 ... He has the most Pac-10 wins (321) of any coach in league history ... Olson has the second-best conference winning percentage (.766/321-98) and second-most league championships won (11) in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only UCLA’s John Wooden (.810/304-74/16 titles) ... During his 24-year tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have won one national championship (1997), played in the national championship game (2001), participated in four Final Fours (1988, 1994, 1997, 2001), won 11 Pac-10 Conference titles, four Pac-10 Tournament crowns (1988, ?'89, ?'90, 2002) and been to the NCAA Tournament for 22 consecutive seasons, which is the longest active and second-longest streak in NCAA history (North Carolina, 27) ... He also led Iowa to the 1980 Final Four ... Olson has been named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year seven times (1986, ?'88, ?'89, ?'93, ?'94, ?'98, 2003), the Big Ten Coach of the Year twice (1979 & ?'81) and directed the UA program to the nation’s second-best winning percentage over the past 19 years (499-131/.792) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 49 NBA Draft picks, including 30 at Arizona ?- 21 alone since 1990 ... He’s led UA to 19 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 28 overall in his career, making him one of only three head coaches in NCAA history to record 28 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 343-37 (.903) in McKale Center and have won 271 of its last 292 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Josh Pastner and Miles Simon ... Olson is 43-4 against Washington State.
Last Time Out: Fourth-ranked North Carolina controlled this contest from the opening tip and handed Arizona its worst home loss in the Lute Olson era, 92-64, on Saturday. The Tar Heels placed six players in double figures and forced the Wildcats into a season-low 33.9 percent shooting and 20 turnovers. Leading 21-20 with 10:02 remaining in the first half, UNC closed the half with a 24-5 run to put the game out of reach. UA freshman Jordan Hill notched the first double-double of his career with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Scouting Washington State: The Cougars (17-4, 6-3 Pac-10) enter tonight’s game looking to get back on the winning side of the ledger following Saturday’s 77-74 overtime loss to Oregon. As a team, WSU averages 68.7 points per game, shoots 46.8 percent (528-of-1,128) from the field and posts a -2.0 per game rebound margin. Defensively, WSU allows 58.9 points per game and a .403 field goal percentage. Two Cougars average in double figures, led by Derrick Low’s 15.4 points per game figure. Kyle Weaver leads the club with a 5.8 rebounds per game mark.
The Series: Tonight’s game is the 61st meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 48-12 series advantage. Arizona has won 41 of the last 43 meetings in the series, which dates back to Dec. 22, 1959, but the Cougars claimed the last one, 77-73 in overtime, on Jan. 6 in Pullman. All-time, Arizona is 23-6 in series games played in Tucson, 20-6 in Pullman, Wash., and 5-0 in neutral-site games. Please see page 102 in the UA media guide for more series information.
Last Meeting: Washington State 77, Arizona 73 (OT), Jan. 6, 2007: Washington State seemed to make every necessary play in earning a four-point win. Arizona, however, wasn’t without chances. Trailing by seven points with 46 seconds remaining, Arizona outscored WSU, 8-1, the rest of the way to force overtime and actually had the final possession of regulation, but came away empty. The result ended Arizona’s 12-game win streak and was WSU’s first win over UA in Pullman since January 1986.
Emerging in the Middle: Jordan Hill helped Arizona split a pair of games last week, including a Pac-10 win over Arizona State, by averaging 12.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game, while shooting 71.4 percent (10-of-14) from the field. The freshman forward also connected on 5-of-9 (.556) free throws and added a steal. He opened the week with a career-best 12 points and nine rebounds in the 24-point win over Arizona State in which he set a season-high with 32 minutes played. It was also his first career start. Hill topped that with career-high totals of 13 points and 10 rebounds, to go with a block and steal Saturday vs. No. 4 North Carolina. It was Hill’s first double-double in his career. Additionally, he tallied 25 points last week, which nearly equaled his 33 points for the year entering the week. On the year, Hill is averaging 3.2 points, 2.9 rebounds and 0.6 blocks per game, while shooting 60.5 percent from the field.
With increasing regularity: Arizona’s 92-64 loss to No. 4 North Carolina Saturday dropped the Wildcats’ record to 2-3 this season against nationally ranked opponents. With No. 18 Washington State in town on Thursday, it marks the fifth consecutive week in which Arizona will face a ranked opponent.
Back at It: Junior Bret Brielmaier returned to action Saturday just 23 days after suffering a right knee injury in a Jan. 4 shootaround. The 6-foot-6 forward from Mankato, Minn., logged seven minutes vs. North Carolina. On the year, Brielmaier is averaging 1.3 points and 2.0 rebounds in 12 appearances.
Unfortunate Occurrence: Not only was Saturday’s loss the worst at home in the Lute Olson era, it was also the second-worst loss by Arizona (any location) in the last 24 seasons. Only a 30-point loss at Oregon on Dec. 21, 2001, topped Saturday’s margin of defeat. Here is the complete list:
30 ?- 105-75, at Oregon; Dec. 21, 2001
28 ?- 92-64, vs. North Carolina, Jan. 27, 2007
26 ?- 86-60, at Louisiana State, Jan. 29, 2000
25 ?- 76-51, vs. Utah, March 21, 1998 (NCAA West Regional Final)
23 ?- 84-61, at Oregon State, Dec. 2, 1989
How important is Offensive Efficiency?: Poor shooting and a plethora of turnovers did in the Wildcats Saturday, as the team shot a season-low 33.9 percent (20-of-59) from the field and equaled a season high with 20 turnovers. The effort led to season-low totals of 25 first-half points and 64 total points for the game. Aside from those figures, Arizona measured up statistically with North Carolina, equaling UNC on the boards, 43-43, and outscoring them from the free throw line, 23-9. Not surprisingly, field goal percentage and turnovers prove to be a telling statistics. Arizona is 9-0 this season when shooting 50 percent or better from the field and 9-1 when committing the same or fewer turnovers than the opposition.
A Difference: Arizona is in the middle of a stretch where it has lost five of its last seven games. In the two victories in that stretch (Jan. 11 vs. Oregon State and Jan. 24 vs. Arizona State), Arizona shot a combined 53-of-107 (.495) from the field. In those five losses, Arizona combined to shoot 119-of-299 (.398) from the field. Additionally, in its last five losses, Wildcat opponents are averaging 80.2 points per game, nearly seven points better than the season average. Incidentally, prior to this recent slump, Arizona was shooting .527 (396-of-752) from the field.
Off Target: Included in Saturday’s shooting effort was a 1-of-23 (.043) accuracy from three-point range. Only a Mustafa Shakur trey with 2:10 remaining kept the Wildcats from a dubiously impressive 0-fer from behind the arc. The Wildcats missed its first 19 three-point attempts against the Tar Heels. Had Shakur’s lone trey not gone down, it would have been just the third time that Arizona had finished a game without a trey since the advent of the three-point shot in 1986-87.
Positives: As mentioned above, Arizona did a nice job on the boards and getting to the line against North Carolina. Arizona was even with North Carolina on the boards (43-43), marking just the third time in 21 games this season that North Carolina had not outrebounded the opposition. Furthermore, Arizona outscored North Carolina 23-9 from the free throw line on Saturday. Entering Saturday’s game, North Carolina was scoring twice as many points per game (17.7-8.9) from the free throw line as the opposition. UA’s +14 scoring advantage was the best against the Tar Heels this year.
Bouncing Back: After playing just five first-half minutes vs. North Carolina on Saturday due to foul trouble, freshman Chase Budinger bounced back in the second half with 16 points and seven rebounds. In two games last week, Budinger led Arizona in scoring by averaging 18.5 points. He also averaged 8.5 rebounds during the week. Through 20 games this season, Budinger is averaging 15.6 points and 6.0 rebounds, while shooting 51.8 percent (113-of-218) from the field.
Streak Stopped: Senior Mustafa Shakur tallied just four assists in Saturday’s game. It was the first time this season that Shakur had failed to pass out at least five assists. Dating back to last season, the 6-foot-3 guard from Philadelphia, Pa., had passed out at least five assists in 21 consecutive games. This season, Shakur is averaging 14.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game.
Guarded Optimism: Arizona collected five blocked shots in Saturday’s game against North Carolina, a figure that was one shy of its season high. Interestingly, four of the five blocks were registered by its starting guards Mustafa Shakur (2) and Jawann McClellan (2). For Shakur and McClellan it set and equaled a new career high for blocks in a single game. It was McClellan’s 10th blocked shot of the season, which ties him for third on the squad.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 160-19 (.894) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points. Arizona is 10-1 this season when scoring 80 or more points, a feat that has happened in 11 of 20 games this year, but not in the last five games.
Always On the Run: Early this season, Arizona has shown the ability to post large scoring runs with some regularity. Here are the ones of note to date:
25-0 run over 7:45 vs. New Mexico State, Nov. 19 (UA went 11-of-16 during run: NMSU 0-of-10)
34-11 run over 9:00 vs. Northern Arizona, Nov. 15 (UA went 12-of-16 during run: NAU 3-of-16)
31-9 run over 7:54 vs. California, Dec. 28 (UA went 11-of-13 during the run; Cal 4-of-14)
28-9 run over 11:22 vs. Samford, Nov. 22 (SU went 3-of-16 with four turnovers during run)
20-2 run over 5:59 vs. Louisville, Dec. 5 (UL went 1-of-10; UA 7-of-8 during the run)
21-4 run over 8:08 vs. Illinois, Dec. 2, 2006 (UA 8-of-12 FGs during run)
24-8 run over 9:17 at San Diego State, Dec. 9, 2006 (SDSU 4-of-18 FG with five TO during run)
18-3 run over 4:15 at Virginia, Nov. 12 (UA went 6-of-8 during run: UVa 1-of-8)
23-8 run over 7:11 vs. UNLV, Nov. 28 (UNLV 3-of-7 with six turnovers during run)
15-0 run over 2:28 at Washington, Jan. 4 (McClellan 3-of-3 from three-point range, UA 6-of-6 FTs)
Early Signees: Coach Olson and his staff signed five student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period. Jerryd Bayless (G, 6-3, 193) from Phoenix, Ariz., St. Mary’s High School; Jamelle Horne (F, 6-7, 205) from San Diego, Calif., San Diego High School; Alex Jacobson (C, 7-1, 223) from Santa Ana, Calif., Mater Dei High School; Zane Johnson (F, 6-6, 200) from Phoenix, Ariz., Thunderbird High School; and Laval Lucas-Perry (G, 6-1, 191) from Grand Blanc, Mich., Powers Catholic High School, will join the squad next fall.
Up Next: The Wildcats return to action on Saturday, Feb. 3, by hosting Washington. Tip-off is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. MST and can be seen nationally on Fox Sports Net. Following that game, five of Arizona’s last seven games will be away from home.